Over time, I think we’ll see a lot more intelligence moving into medical devices covering a wide range of subjects. (And, in some cases, it may do the job better than a human doctor: When my wife had a heart attack at the age of 37, the EKG machine at the hospital flagged her reading as indicating a possible myocardial infarction, but the doctors dismissed that because she was a young, thin, athletic woman. The machine was right, and they were wrong.)

While we’re a long way from the “autodocs” featured in some science fiction stories, the proliferation of devices that can do extensive blood tests and diagnostic workups doesn’t seem that far away. Neither does the creation of freestanding gadgets that can diagnose things such as strep throat and other staples of doc-in-a-box or nurse-in-a-box practices now.

While such devices will be expensive at first, they’re likely to get steadily cheaper and more capable because, as electronic gadgets, they’ll benefit from Moore’s Law, the steady increase in computing power.